Facebook Messenger Adds Video Calls 

By Kate Knibbs on at

You can now make video calls with Messenger. Facebook’s messaging app added a video calling feature today in the US, UK, Canada, and a variety of other countries.

If you’re talking to a friend and realise that you want to see their face, not another Pusheen sticker, the feature lets you call them up on the spot.

You can quickly start a video call from any conversation with just one tap. If you’re messaging with someone and realise that words just aren’t enough, you can simply choose the video icon in the top right corner of the screen and start a video call right from within an existing Messenger conversation.

Phone calls will start with the front-facing camera turned on, but you can switch it to show whoever you’re talking to what’s going on around you.

For those of us who fear spontaneous face-to-face contact, this is kind of horrifying. But Facebook’s counting on an audience. This is another bid to push Messenger as its own communication platform, and it’s a big one, putting Facebook in direct competition with popular VoIP services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Apple’s FaceTime.

The big advantage Messenger has here is a built-in contact list— there’s no need to go through the process of finding someone’s user info if they’re already your Facebook friend. That built-in contact list is also what Facebook’s counting on to compete with Venmo when it comes to sending money to friends. [Facebook]